[-empyre-] Welcome to November 2005: "Whispering in the Dark"

dear -empyre-

Please welcome the editors -- and several writers -- of the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Los Angeles

For November 2005, -empyre- is pleased to invite the Journal's perspectives on the commodification of theoretical discourses.

As a collective, the editors have conjured up these thoughts to start off our conversation:

"Whispering in the Dark, conspiratorial incantations. Theory making sense of the place you’re stumbling around in.

As artists we are painfully aware of the ex-appropriation, commodification and negation of meaningful discourses due to an international art market that imagines itself uncritically de- centered and is ever hungry for newly displaced objects and meanings.

As an art project, the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest appeared at a time when globalization replaced localizable public goods with streamlined and commercial products. The hype around New Media is just another example of this phenomenon, not only in the way new media art's ever present connection to the IT industry but also in the way that new media itself is one of the main conduits for this emptied out experience of culture. With this discussion we would like to investigate a different way to frame discourse.

How can a discourse not be tied to the expression or promotion of particular industrial technologies? How has and how can we reframe the category of new media? How does new media and new media discourse impact communities and social justice? How does the commodification of discourse influence understandings of tactical media's possibilities?

Journal Description

The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest is a Los Angeles based artists’ collective. Our magazine sits at the discursive juncture of fine art, media theory and anti-authoritarian activism. We sculpt projects that challenge hegemonic representations (of knowledge, art, activism) or that spark situations for community-based social change or creation. We work collaboratively with individuals and collectives on several continents.

The Journal of Aesthetics and Protests may be a rare critical machine in that while it publishes critical theory, it has no ties to any academic or cultural institution. In spirit and practice, it has as much in common with Indymedia.org as it does with October. One of the first questions we ask when confronted by a proposal for a project or article is “what does this proposal mean to what we know about our lives here in the bohemian left of southern California and elswhere.” Nonetheless, ours is not a vanity press, we see our project and projects like it filling up the vaccume left by the defunding of small er institutions, the increasing accademicization of art education and the ensuing commodifacation and spectacularization of discourse."


This is a link to the new issue (print copies now available to pre- order)

Please welcome Marc, Christina, Robby, Cara, Ryan and Nato on - empyre- soft-skinned space.


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about the editors and contributing writers

----------------------------->Cara Baldwin was born on a military base at the end of the Vietnam War and has since returned to the sound of helicopter blades rattling her crib. She received her MFA at CalArts in 2000 and has since organized several projects that deal with public space. She's an independent curator, editor, artist and writer living in Los Angeles.

----------------------------->Ryan Griffis is an artist whose work takes the forms of writing, curating and otherwise performative activities, often in collaborative situations. Focusing on the social problematics of technology, he writes regular reviews of art and culture for Rhizome, ArtUS and other on and offline publications. "YOUgenics," a traveling series of exhibitions and events about genetic technologies curated by Ryan since 2001, was recently exhibited at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a member of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest collective and also moonlights as a part-time travel agent for the Temporary Travel Office - an ongoing investigation into the sub-rational desires for mobility.

----------------------------->Marc Herbst is currently completing is a site-specific photo collage project involving neighborhood demographic statistics aimed at communicating cold economic realities to distinct homes. He works with pirate radio, diy and grassroots media . He currently is beginning a group of abstract biomorphic monuments to extinct or endangered community institutions such as historical memory, telephone trees, and shared values. He teaches web design, performance art and sculpture at UC San Diego and American Intercontinental University LA.

----------------------------->Robby Herbst is interested in the networks of visual media that foster the development of intersubjective power. His new-genres practice explores, initiates, and enacts democratic negotiations with culture. Since 1996 Robby has been around the creation of several autonomously run media collectives (Radio Dumbo, Indymedia Seattle and Los Angeles, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest). Currently he is excited about the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest’s slide library. The library attempts to address the many problems of LA’s gallery and academic art systems by unveiling “dark matter”, accomplished through the creation of a publicly accessible archive.
<http://www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/projects/library/ slidearchive.html>
<http://www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/new3/index.php? page=sholette>

----------------------------->Christina Ulke lives and works as an artist in Los Angeles. Her site-specific and often collaborative public art practice revolves around questions of globalization’s aftermath, the deconstruction of normalized racist technological hegemonies and the articulation of a radically local iconography. In an attempt to create locally meaningful discursive sites, Ulke co- founded c-level (now beta-level) in LA’s Chinatown and is also a co- editor of the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. Ulke currently teaches at UCSD's Visual Arts Department. http://www.ulkeprojects.com/ closeencounters.html

----------------------------->Nato Thompson is a writer, activist, and Assistant Curator at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Recent curatorial projects there include "The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere," a survey of interventionist political art practices of the 90s, and edited a related book, "The Interventionists: Users' Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life," MIT Press 2004. He is a co-organizor at the Department of Space and Land Reclamation and strong believer in radical practice. His writings on art and politics have been published in tema celeste, Parkett, New Art Examiner, the College Art Association Art Journal and In These Times. Nato is a contributing writer to the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.

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